A survey of the country’s 100 top graduate employers by High Fliers Research indicates they will recruit 8.7 per cent more graduates than last year – in total, around 1,400 extra people.
That will take the number of graduate vacancies back to where it was in 2007, the year before the recession prompted firms to slash their annual recruitment of university leavers.
Graduate employers in 11 out of 13 key industries and business sectors are now planning to hire more new recruits this year than in 2013.
Much of the growth in entry-level graduate jobs has come in the public sector, particularly Teach First, which will have 1,550 vacancies this autumn, and in accounting and professional services firms, such as PwC (1,200 vacancies) and Deloitte (1,000 vacancies).
Overall, the 100 employers covered by the survey plan to employ 18,264 graduates this year compared with 16,895 last year.
These employers will also offer a record number of paid work experience places this year – about 12,000 – with about two-thirds of recruiters offering them.
Internships are increasingly a stepping stone to full-time jobs with those companies, the study published on 13 January reveals.
More than a third (37%) of the posts advertised this year will be filled by those who have already done an internship at the company, the report says.
About half of recruiters said graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to get jobs.
However, despite the improved outlook for the “class of 2014”, graduate salaries have stagnated. At these employers, the average wage was £29,000 a year, the same for the past five years.
About 10 organisations will offer salaries of £40,000 to this year’s graduates, with the most generous on offer from investment banks (median of £45,000), law firms (median of £39,000), banking and finance firms (median of £33,000) and oil and energy companies (median of £32,500).
The highest published graduate starting salaries for 2014 are at the European Commission (£41,500) and the supermarket Aldi (£41,000).